(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
10/9/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Postdocs,
October is Filipino American History Month, and Filipino Americans make up a full 25% of California’s Asian population. This is a good month to order in or learn some new recipes, and spend some time recognizing that like so many minoritized groups in America, Filipino Americans are being hit particularly hard by COVID-19.
And many of you are likely feeling the stress, of life, of the quarter starting, of the election. Watch yourself, be mindful, and go check out our town hall on wellness and success from today with lots of good resources.
5 ways UCI students are managing burnout:
Check out this list our graduate wellness counselor, Phong Luong (firstname.lastname@example.org), has assembled from the awesome students he talks to regularly.
- Staying connected (weekly meetings with advisors, writing groups, mental health advocacy and support on social media)
- Shifting perspective (focus on what you have done rather than what you didn't get to)
- Reimagining how we frame our day from "work, work, work" to "reward, work, reward" with a solid, focused 4-5 hour work/research block
- Finding outlets to externalize feelings and thoughts (counseling, journaling)
- Physical activity
As part of our conversion to Campus Groups, Graduate Division now has a listing of all events sponsored by our office online:
Three coming up next week:
- Writing for Fellowships
- Learn some strategies for writing competitive fellowship materials and take part in some exercises to help you get started!
- 10/12/2020 1:00pm - 10/12/2020 2:30pm
- NSF Q&A Drop-In Hours
- Drop-by to ask any questions that you have about NSF GRFP! Register to receive link and feel free to drop by for any, or all, of the 2-hour sessions
- 10/13/2020 9:00am - 10/13/2020 11:00am
- Writing a CV
- This webinar explains the purpose, format, and content of the Curriculum Vitae (CV). Learn how to create and critique your academic CV.
- 10/13/2020 12:00pm - 10/13/2020 1:00pm
Grad Division is now doing monthly town halls with different topics and special guests each month. We had our October edition today focusing on wellness and success. If you missed it, not to worry, you can watch this and all of our other previous town halls by clicking here. Save the date for our next two town halls.
- November 13th | 3 pm - 4 pm PT - Finding Academic Success in a COVID-19 Environment
- December 11th | 3 pm - 4 pm PT - Diversity and Inclusion at UCI
As a reminder, the University of California, out of concern for the potential for very serious or life-threatening illness in the campus community caused by anticipated simultaneous community transmission of both influenza and COVID-19, is requiring influenza vaccine for students, faculty, and staff (including other academic personnel) living, working or learning on campus any time beginning November 1, 2020 and continuing through the end of the flu season.
The cost of the vaccine to students will be covered by all Affordable Care Act-compliant medical insurance plans, including the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP). Vaccinations are widely available throughout the state at local retail pharmacies and other locations near to where students may be residing, as well as through campus health centers.
Full information can be found on the Student Health website.
Two key questions that have come up:
- How do we handle exemptions and accommodations?
The Executive Order permits approved medical exemptions or disability or religious accommodations. All requests for exemptions or accommodations will be reviewed by the campus at which the student is enrolled. Requests for medical exemption must be submitted to the medical director of Student Health Services. Requests for disability or religious accommodation will be reviewed by a designated office as assigned by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
2. What if I am remote only?
Starting November 1, 2020 and through the 2020-2021 flu season, students will be required to certify they have received the flu vaccine or an exemption or accommodation (or have a request for exemption or accommodation pending) before being allowed to access UC premises. If you will not access UC premises, including housing, you will not have to document the immunization by the deadline.
COVID-19 Testing and Care
- For students residing on campus who undergo weekly asymptomatic testing that is mandated by the University, there is no charge. For students who undergo asymptomatic testing that they request for work, travel or other “administrative” type clearance, they will be charged.
- Post-doc asymptomatic testing is still being planned. As it turns out, the challenges of accessing, updating, and sharing health data for employees is sufficiently different from students and difficult that these processes have not been finalized yet. I will let you all know as soon as I can, and I am very sorry for the continued delay.
- Accomodations for People with Anxiety, Disability, or other Needs: Each collection site has accommodations for special circumstances, especially the Division of Continuing Education (DCE) collection site:
1. Centrally located with ample parking
2. First Aid Room has a direct walk up and is separate from the check in and sample collection areas
3. Large classroom occupied by 2 people: 1) the student and 2) the nurse/observer
4. All sample kits, labels, supplies can be brought to the room
To gain access to special accommodations, take these two steps:
1. Student schedules appointment at DCE through the Student Health Center portal (or calling directly)
2. On morning of appointment, student calls Alfonso (949 357-3972) to help prepare for their visit
Please reserve accommodations for those who need them.
- Indoor vs. Outdoor Testing Student health, UCIMC, and public health officials at UCI and around the county continue to monitor best practices and adapt our practices. This includes weighing the challenges of indoor testing against those of outdoor. For next week, all testing will be indoors, but this will likely change in the future as things like air quality and heat change.
- Services rendered to students who are symptomatic and/or have been directly exposed to someone who has tested positive are considered “medically necessary” regardless of whether they subsequently test positive or negative.
- Medically necessary services are covered by health insurance and billable to UC SHIP.
- Students covered by UC SHIP are responsible for their usual office visit copays and/or coinsurance related to diagnostic testing. These copay/coinsurance amounts are billed to the student’s Zot Account following payment received by UC SHIP/Anthem.
- SHC does not bill any other insurance plans. We directly bill the charges to the student’s Zot Account. The student would then seek reimbursement from their insurance carrier.
- While students are encouraged to seek medically necessary follow-up testing/treatment through SHC regardless of their coverage, non-SHIP students who are residing on campus are not required to be seen at SHC. However, at a minimum, they must upload any documentation regarding testing/treatment to their Student Health Patient Portal.
- I get it. No one likes having to send that email or click that button every day.
- The public health experts are clear though that daily symptom monitoring and pausing, even for just a moment to think about your own symptoms, has the potential to help.
- So, please do it anyway. You can even set up a rule on your email to auto-file the thank you response you get back.
- If you can’t complete for whatever reason--holiday, illness, taking a screen free day, vacation, etc--simply let your department manager know.
Grad and Family Housing Policies
Thank you very much for your patience as we have worked through the numerous challenges and balancing of concerns in Graduate and Family Housing. Please see below for one update--visitor policy--and one reminder--events policy. Special thanks to not only the numerous health and student affairs experts all over campus who worked on this but also to AGS who have been tireless advocates for the needs of students and helpful sounding boards for solutions.
- Per the email you should have just received from student affairs, residents of Grad and Family Housing may now have visitors if they are there to perform an essential function as defined by the State of California essential workforce directive, for example people who provide care to you, your children, or someone with a disability living in your home.
- Minor children/ dependents of a Graduate and Family Housing resident may also be visitors in other housing units for the purposes of childcare.
- Consistent with state, local, and University guidelines, as well as guidance from public health experts, this policy has been adopted to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Each student resident will be responsible for registering their essential worker with the community’s housing office, ensuring their essential worker’s compliance with campus directives and policies, and making every effort to have a stable and limited rotation of caregivers. This registration portal should be available next week.
- The student resident must also complete the Daily Symptom Check for themselves and their minor children/dependents prior to allowing the minor children/dependents into another unit for purposes of childcare.
- If this updated policy doesn’t fix your concerns, come talk to me during office hours.
No in-person gatherings
- Residents are not permitted to host gatherings of any kind.
- When you host gatherings, you make it very difficult on your fellow residents as well as on those of us who are advocating for less restrictions in housing in general. Please be mindful of the community and take the gatherings policies very seriously.
- Activities sponsored by your housing community will either be online/remote or carefully designed to conform to campus requirements listed in the Chancellor’s Executive Directive, issued on July 21, 2020.
Study tents on campus
UCI has installed study tents on campus in an effort to provide students and postdocs the opportunity to work and to study outside in shaded areas:
- Langson Library Plaza
- Humanities Hall Plaza
They are available for use from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., have nearby restrooms, and wifi. Please wear face coverings and remain physical distant from your neighbors while in the study tent.
- UCI land is live in Animal Crossing: https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/12406/uc-irvine-goes-virtual-on-animal-crossing-new-horizons-with-uci-land
- Go catch some fish and sell some shells and whatever else you like to do in Animal Crossing.
- Oh and read this interesting article by Ian Bogost on Animal Crossing as political and economic praxis: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/04/animal-crossing-isnt-escapist-its-political/610012/
- Academic English is offering a variety of writing and speaking courses for graduate students for Fall 2020.
- These courses are for graduate students from any discipline and are open to students from all language backgrounds.
- Academic English graduate courses are being delivered remotely, with an optional in-person component.
- Please visit the Schedule of Classes for the latest update and enroll in Academic English courses today!
- For course questions, please email AcademicEnglish@uci.edu.
Join UC Santa Barbara's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the launch of the 2020-2021 series Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues:
Anti-Blackness, Refusal, and Resistance:
Fugitive Possibilities in Black Education
by kihana miraya ross
Wednesday, October 14
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
About the Speaker: kihana miraya ross received her doctorate from UC Berkeley in 2016 and is currently an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University. Her program of research examines the multiplicity of ways that Anti-Blackness is lived by Black students and the ways Black educators and students engage in educational fugitivity to refuse and resist. kihana’s most recent article, “Call it what it is: Anti-blackness,” was published in The New York Times and she is continuing her public facing work in a project with Colin Kaepernick centering the politics of abolition. Her forthcoming book length manuscript explores both the ways Black girls experience Anti-Blackness and hypersexualization in their school, and also, the numerous ways their production of Black Girl Space facilitates a reimagining of a Black girl identity and a radical Black subjectivity.
- Register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScIkw43tgWCa2W1oZNi6zHsIhDFZ9NQilJdTEsvUnh1sQtDUw/viewform
- You must have a UCSB or UCI email address to register.
Internet - Copy Pasted from a few weeks ago, but still important
As you all no doubt already know, your working and teaching--and associated frustration levels with those--may be impacted by the quality of your internet connection. Before the fall quarter begins:
- Test your network speed using https://speedtest.net or similar
- Verify that your reported speed is what you expect it should be
- If you are a resident of Grad and Family Housing:
- You may need to connect to the wall via ethernet rather than using your WiFi router.
- If you don’t have those capabilities, fill out this form https://forms.gle/KxR41tsg2Kj8oCrB9 and we will work to get you an ethernet adapter for your laptop and ethernet cabling.
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has created a resource page with various options to address internet connectivity concerns. These tips will be especially useful for people not in grad and family housing who may be relying on external providers.
- Improving Broadband Internet: Tips for testing and strengthening your residential service, upgrading your modem, or boosting your Wifi signal
- Smartphone Hotspot Tethering: If broadband improvements are not successful, you may try using your mobile phone as a wifi hotspot
- Mobile WiFi Hotspot: If you need a more reliable or back up Wifi hotspot, you can obtain and use a dedicated mobile hotspot device
- Internet Service Providers and Plan Information: Links to support, plan and COVID-related resources from several internet providers
- Low-Cost Internet Options: Links to cost-effective provider options
If you do not have a suitable internet connection at home or repeatedly encounter connectivity issues that impede your ability to teach effectively:
- General assignment classrooms are available for preparing and delivering remote courses.
- Please review the Use of Teaching Space Plans for important guidance on accessing any campus facility.
- When you are ready to reserve a room, please work with your Schedule of Classes Coordinator to submit the request to the Registrar. If you don’t know who this is, ask your faculty advisor, department chair, or the professor for whom you are TAing.
- Instructors and TAs are also permitted to use campus offices for remote teaching.
- You MUST work with your department to make sure they have approved plans in place for occupancy of your space.
- More details are available in the Use of Teaching Space Plans document, under Unit-controlled spaces section.
Are you tired? I am so very tired. I think we all are, globally. I need to ask you to hold on for just a while longer though. You have done a wonderful job of working hard to serve each other, to be a true community for so long. And yes, it can all feel pointless and like just too much when you go out and see someone with no mask on or you hear about another immigration policy or you even just have the regular stresses of life--a bad grade for your kid, a paper rejected for you, a burnt dinner that you neglected while answering emails and the phone. I know how you are feeling. We are all feeling it. The idea in February that this is where we would be in October would be unfathomable. In some ways, it still is.
But I need to ask you to hold on just a little longer. Be kind to each other. Be generous with each other, with your undergrads, with your advisors. And persevere. Some of you may not feel you can go on like this much longer. This pace, these challenges, they may feel insurmountable. You can though. You can persevere, maybe with a little extra help from Graduate Division or your department or your friends and family, but you can do it.
Nearly 500 years ago, Hussein Nishah wrote “I am too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and too determined to be defeated.” I have seen a positive, optimistic, and determined Anteater community for the last several months, and though it may feel impossible, I know that community is still there.
Wear your face coverings. Stay socially distanced. Get enough sleep. Eat as well as you can. It may seem impossible, but as Nelson Mandela famously said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Wishing you a weekend of rest, justice, and peace on behalf of Graduate Division,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division